Central West End throws commemorative cocktail block party June 8

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For the fourth year running, the Central West End pays tribute to a tidbit of fun St. Louis history. In May 1917, Clara Walsh reportedly threw the world’s first cocktail party at 4499 Lindell Blvd., in the Central West End.

On June 8, the Central West End Cocktail Party honors Walsh’s knack for hosting a good time. Live entertainment, a cocktail competition and plenty of libations will fill Euclid Avenue between Maryland and McPherson avenues from 5 to 10 p.m. during this free street festival.

Kate Haher, executive director of Central West End Business Community Improvement District, said it’s the best party of the summer.

“The Central West End is a beautiful backdrop, and there’s a lot of energy in community,” she said. “It’s a great time to spend a fun evening outside to dance and mingle, try some foods and drinks and hang out with your family and friends.”

Participating vendors include Mission Taco Joint, Gamlin Whiskey House, Bar Louie, Drunken Fish and more. Full menus have not yet been announced, but attendees can be on the lookout for the 1220 Central West End Sling, a fresh take on the classic Singapore Sling, along with the 1917 Bourbon Spritz featuring bourbon, angostura bitters, fresh lemon, lime and soda. In addition, 1220 Artisan Spirits canned cocktails will be available at all bars throughout the event.

“Each business will make a signature drink with fun serving vessels and straws and unique garnishes, but regular bar menus will be available too,” Haher said.

There will be plenty of food, too, like deep dish by the slice from Pi Pizzeria, Belgian beer brats from Brennan’s and cheddar drop biscuits with sausage gravy from Kingside Diner.

“Pay as you go, and enjoy as much or as little as you like,” she said.

The cocktail competition kicks off at 6 p.m. and features competitors from across the St. Louis area in addition to Central West End bartenders, including Parker Geisiendorfer of Mary Ann’s Tea Room and Phil Villacis of Bar Italia.

Jesse Gannon & the Truth, The Service and Disco Nite will provide live music throughout the night.

“It’ll be stuff everyone is familiar with and can dance to and sing along with – hits from the ’70s to today,” Haher said.

A variety of street entertainment, including fire dancers, unicyclists, aerial performers and live painters, will be dispersed throughout the event, and bubbles and hula hoops will be on hand to keep the kids entertained.

Lauren Healey is associate editor at Sauce Magazine.

Sauce Magazine is a sponsor of the Central West End Cocktail Party.